By Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE

 

The turning leaves are a sign to turn up consumption of autumn foods. From apples to yams, fall fruits and vegetables offer a variety of nutrients with many health benefits. Here are a few ideas to get you eating “the alphabet” from apples to yams:

• Apples make great snacks and can be enjoyed baked as well as in this simple recipe: Core 2 apples, leaving the bottom intact. Fill the apples with sweetener of choice and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and a small amount of butter. Microwave for 3 ½ to 4 minutes or until tender.

• Broccoli/Cabbage make great additions to salads and slaws. Try some light slaw dressing and add raisins or other dried fruit for a nice twist.

• Grapes are plentiful now and make a great colorful garnish for soup and salad night, plus they are easy to prepare…simply rinse and eat.

• Kale’s local growing season is upon us and if you have not tried framers market kale before, now is the time! Enjoy tender kale in salads or try mature kale in a “massaged” salad or as kale chips.

• Pears are also great for snacking and adding to salad. Handle them with care because the bruise easily. Nothing beats a perfectly ripe pear. Pears do not actually ripen on the tree, they are harvested when mature but not fully ripe. Left at room temperature, they will slowly reach sweet, juicy maturity as they ripen from the inside out. The best way to tell if a pear is ripe is by applying gentle pressure to the neck or stem end of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, then it’s ripe and ready to eat.

• Winter squash is great baked or cooked in the microwave. To cook in the microwave oven: Cut butternut or acorn squash in half, place cut-side down in a baking dish with about ¼-inch of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until knife or fork pierces easily, about 10-15 minutes. To season, use a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil or butter and varying combinations of the following: brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice.

• `Yams or sweet potatoes: Well, they are actually two different things and I really want to mention sweet potatoes since they are produced in Georgia. Sweet potatoes can be used in almost any white potato recipe and should be used within 1-2 weeks of purchase. The simplest way to cook sweet potatoes is in the microwave. Pierce the sweet potato skin 5-6 times. Place on a microwaveable plate and microwave for 5-8 minutes, rotating halfway through. The sweet potato is done when the thin skin puffs to a crisp finish, the inside will be tender and moist. Mash and season as desired

While the microwave can get fall veggies on the table in a flash, my favorite way to cook them is roasting. This sweet potato recipe is sure to please everyone in the family. Enjoy!

Ginger Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Vegetables oil cooking spray
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped green onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil and spraying with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Peel and dice potatoes (smaller dices cook faster), and place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Combine the honey, Dijon, ginger and olive oil in a small bowl and pour over potatoes. Toss potatoes to coat thoroughly. Spray potatoes lightly with vegetable oil cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the potatoes after 20 minutes. Stir the green onions into the sweet potato mixture and bake for 5 minutes more, until potatoes are tender.

Yield:
6 servings (serving size: ½ cup)

Nutrient Breakdown:
Calories 140, Fat 2.5g (0g saturated fat, 2g monounsaturated fat), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 85mg, Carbohydrate 29g, Fiber 4g, Protein 2g.

Farmers Markets are not just for spring. Here are three ways to buy local, seasonal fall produce in the CSRA.

• The Augusta Market: Open Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the 8th street plaza in downtown Augusta.

• The Veggie Truck: Open Tuesdays from 4:30-7 p.m. at 1850 Broad Street (across from the Salvation Army Kroc Center).

• Augusta Locally Grown (augusta.locallygrown.net): Shop Friday from noon until Sunday at 8 p.m. at this on-line market. Pick-up your order on the following Tuesday at one of two locations:

-Southern Made, 1808 Broad Street from 5-7 p.m.
-The Augusta Jewish Community Center, 898 Weinberger Way,
Evans, from 4-6 p.m.

 

Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/eatingwellwithkim. To search for specific recipes go to www.universityhealth.org/ewwk. You can also watch the segments at www.wrdw.com/ewwk.

This article appears in the October 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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